This article by Patricia LeBoeuf originally appeared June 4 in the Bennington Banner.
A majority of Vermont high school students feel like they matter to their communities. But they’re much less likely to feel this way if they are LGBT, according to the 2017 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
“That concerns me,” said Maryann Morris, executive director of the Collaborative, a substance use prevention organization based in Londonderry. “We’re perceived as being this state that’s really open, and accepting — woke, to use the current term. But [these students are] still, at this young age, not feeling this connection.”
The Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a national school-based survey that monitors health-risk behaviors among youth and young adults.
Only 39 percent of surveyed LGBT high school students reported feeling like they matter to people in their community, versus 64 percent of heterosexual or cisgender students — those whose gender identity corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth.
The survey is conducted every two years. In Vermont, the Department of Health works with the Agency of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct two separate surveys: one of high school students in grades 9 through 12, and one of middle school students in grades 6 through 8.
Overall, 20,653 high school students, representing 69 schools, and 13,887 Vermont middle school students, representing 122 schools, took the survey.
According to survey results, LGBT high school students are also significantly more likely than heterosexual or cisgender students to feel sad or hopeless, have safety concerns at school, experience bullying within the last month, or be forced to have sexual intercourse.
LGBT students were also four times more likely to have attempted suicide or hurt themselves on purpose in the past year.
Read full article at the Bennington Banner.
(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)